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have left more than 140 people dead and dozens injured. the bombs in the syrian intelligence agency, on the same day that an advance team from the arab league observer mission arrived in syria to monitor the implementation of a peace deal between the assad regime and opposition forces. broadcast these images of carnage and rubble, the first direct attacks in the heart of damascus. doors and windows burst. everything was destroyed. people lying in bed were injured by shards of glass. >> the government says most of the victims were civilians. the assailants targeted syrian military intelligence and the
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powerful plainclothes security service. the blasts, a day after arab league observers started a mission to oversee an end to nine months of bloodshed in syria. assyria's deputy foreign minister -- syria's deputy foreign minister said anyone with a conscience must condemn the attacks. all along, the government has been claiming that terrorists and armed gangs were behind the uprising. now, syrian state television has blamed al qaeda for these blasts. >> for more analysis on what is happening in syria right now, i am joined in the studio by a middle east analyst. thanks for being with us. the syrian national council is saying that the syrian regime is directly responsible for these latest attacks. how believable is that? >> it is difficult to say who is really behind these attacks. the government accuses the
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opposition and al qaeda in general, and the opposition says the opposite, that it is the government's help behind this attack. we will probably never find out who really is in charge, but indeed, it is very beneficial for the syrian regime because it allows al assad and his followers to claim that they are opting for a peaceful solution, whereas the other side is using violence and putting this country into real turmoil. in the short run, the attack is really a presence, so to speak, for the syrian government -- a present, so to speak, for the syrian government. it fits all too well, and for this reason, we believe the government is behind it. >> disposes complications for the observer mission which just a ride -- this poses complications. how does this affect the work they are supposed to be carrying out. >> i do not see any real effect.
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the observer mission is really a scapegoat. this is an attempt by the arab league, which is an impotent political organization, to allow them to do something. they can at least claim that they tried to end the violence, but the observer mission is nothing more than that. it is observing, but it does not have any real mandate to intervene. for this reason, it is not really important for al assad. things will go on and deteriorate, and syria will most likely see the same scenario we have seen in iraq over the past years -- continuing violence with nobody really knowing who is behind the various attacks. it is a tragedy for the syrians. >> it sounds like one. thank you for your assessment. tens of thousands of egyptians rally in cairo friday demanding that the military hand over power. protesters expressed outrage at the army's treatment of female demonstrators, some of whom had
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been dragged by their hair, stripped, and been beaten. the military still has a firm grip on the country, despite the revolution. egypt is holding ongoing parliamentary elections in the first free vote there in 60 years. results are due there in january. the muslim brotherhood party is leading the polls so far. the diplomatic dispute between france and turkey has escalated dramatically. turkish prime minister accuses paris of racism and islamaphobia. he said france had committed genocide during a long guerrilla war. outside the french embassy, protesters made accusations of crimes against humanity. the comments were in response to a decision by french law makers to outlaw the denial of the 1915 genocide in turkey.
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authorities in several european countries warning about the possible risks associated with breast implants made by french company pip. the company is said to have used a substandard greater silicon, which have a high rate of rupturing. france says it will pay for the tens of thousands of women there. >> she has a history of breast cancer. she later had two pip and plants, which her body rejected. soon after, she developed cancer in her right breast. she fears that the silicone used in the implant may be to blame. >> i still have a lot of psychological and physical scars from this case. for me, it will be lifelong damage. i cannot go back in time after everything i have been through. >> but she can 1 others.
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that is what she and other women are doing. last year, the implants were taken off the market. >> the health minister recommends that every woman who has had these implants should have them removed. this is a precaution, not an emergency measure. >> 30,000 women are said to have had the implants in france alone. the scandal could spread out words. the silicon implants were exported around the world. she has at least manage to help publicize the problem and is happy that something is finally being done, even if it may be too late for many sufferers. >> turning to the u.s. now where both the senate and house of representatives have passed an
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extension of a payroll tax cut, which takes effect in january. the approval of the legislation came after weeks of partisan deadlock. the bill now goes -- now goes to president barack obama for signature. speaker of the house john boehner said the house had approved an extension in exchange for hammering out a deal for the 2012 budget. the bill extends an increase on the average american worker. at a white house press conference, president obama welcomed the news but said more work would have to be done to extend the tax deal after the holidays, calling it a make or break moment for the u.s. middle class. obama said job growth and the economy as a whole depended on continued bipartisan effort. >> after this agreement, every working american will keep their tax cut. about $1,000 for a typical family.
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that translates into the next -- an extra $40 or so in every paycheck. unemployment insurance will continue for millions of americans who are looking for work, and when congress returns, i urge them to keep working without trauma, without delay to reach an agreement that extends this tax cut as well as unemployment insurance. through all of 2012. >> barack obama speaking earlier about the latest tax cut extension. the eurozone presence at the largest economy faces further economic troubles. >> that is correct. its debt continues to decline while the economy is slowing down. the french economy grew less than analysts had estimated. >> shoppers are out in force in paris in the run-up to christmas, but it still not enough to prop up france's flagging economy. over the past year, france has
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growth. in the second quarter, gdp even contracted compared to the previous quarter. in the third quarter, economists registered growth of just 0.3%. analysts are not predicting any turnaround in the coming year. many say france is likely to drift into recession. they one of rising unemployment, but the government still forecast 1% growth in 2012. critics say it is an attempt to present a rosier picture ahead of the presidential election in may. the economy is the main issue in the campaign so far. the pessimistic outlook is shared by the three major rating agencies, which all one that harris stands to lose its top credit rating. >> just ahead the christmas holiday, it has been a quiet trading day in europe. let's look at some market numbers in france. the dax closed just 0.5% higher. eurozone stocks 50 advanced 0.75%. across the atlantic, the dow
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jones industrials also well in positive territory, up 5.32 -- up 5.75% -- up by .75%. many retailers in germany are hoping for robust after christmas sales. merchants in most of the country are very content with their recent holiday sales volume. >> just ahead of christmas, crowds are rushing to get all their presence at the last minute. for toy retailers, it is the best time of the year. >> christmas is the most important time of the year. we could not survive without christmas. it generates 70% of our annual sales, just as two months, november and december, make up 70% of our annual sales. >> germany's entire retail sectors please. the last few days have been especially lucrative, and many consumers are turning to the internet as well.
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online retailers expect sales to top 5.6 billion euros this year, 10% more than last year. november and december retail sales are forecast to total 80 billion euros. >> the retail sector is beating the crisis and a stable. we saw that in 2008 and in 2009. people kept buying. they were really sensible. the same is true now. there is absolutely no retell crisis, and that is primarily due to the overall economy. we have far fewer unemployed and real incomes have risen this year. >> with many people giving money and get cards to their loved ones for christmas, germany's retailers expect robust sales figures to continue between christmas and new year. >> no yuletide spirit in hungary. >> christmas not keeping people from demonstrating. mr. it is gathered outside the hungarian parliament to protest against legislation they say is anti-democratic. several prominent figures were briefly detained, including the
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former prime minister. the controversial legislation includes a bill that could limit the independence of the national bank of hungary and includes laws restricting press freedom. >> the protesters chanted, "enough is enough." they support the politics can be different group, the smallest faction in the hungarian parliament. the band of demonstrators tried to block access to the parliament building. inside, lawmakers approved a package of laws the opposition says is an attack on democracy by the conservative government. the former prime minister and his party boycotted the vote and joined the protests. >> these people sent a very strong message. >> the party has a 2/3 majority in parliament, and up to push through the controversial new
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laws, despite protests from the opposition and the eu. the legislation gives the government more power over the central bank. and election laws have been changed as well. the demonstrators say the new rules give the party an unfair advantage. these posters read, "you would not betrayed democracy would you?" it is a rhetorical question. opposition say the new laws are the latest in a campaign to silence opposition. the police broke up the protest, a resting around a dozen members of parliament. the former prime minister was among those detained. >> a ukrainian court has upheld the seven-year jail sentence imposed on the former prime minister. she has been in jail for four months after a conviction on charges of abuse of office. her supporters say the courts are controlled by the president , a political rival. western countries have also
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criticized her detention as politically motivated. leaders from all around the brawled attended the state funeral of the former czech president in prague on friday. people lined the streets and applauded as the coffin was escorted by a military guard of honor through the cathedral was a golden gates. he was widely credited with leading the so-called velvet revolution in 1989, which helped to bring democracy to his country. >> world leaders both past and present were among the more than 1000 people gathered to pay their last respects. the u.s. secretary of state, hillary clinton, and has been former president bill clinton -- husband former president bill clinton or there. and the former u.s. secretary of state, madeleine albright,
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spoke in her native czech ashy eulogized her close friend -- as she eulogized her close friend. she said the struggle for freedom was only a means to achieve a loftier goal -- truth. >> we will miss him terribly. but we will never, ever forget him. >> klaus was successor as president and a political arch- rival. on this day, he paid homage, saying he is a man who knew words could change the world. the body was to be cremated after the funeral in accordance with his family's wishes. >> russia's space program continues to have problems with its rockets. it was the second launch failure this year, but another spacecraft is reach its
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destination, carrying a russian, an american, an investment to the space station, taking the " back up to its full complement of six. >> podcasts -- one of dw-tv's mobile options.
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>> welcome back. christmas is right at our doorstep. german along with the rest of the world is in the spirit. it is a time of reflection, giving, and sharing, and the traditions of decorating the tree and baking are part of the season. four weeks leading up to christmas are among the busiest times of the year, even for those who do not consider themselves to be religious. yuletide cheer requires quite a few preparations ahead of the big day. >> rolling out the dough for traditional christmas cookies.
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she has been looking forward to this for days. the cookies are the essence of yuletide. >> baking cookies is really seasonal. it is about looking forward to christmas. it is fun. >> her mother has taken the afternoon off to lend a hand with the cookies, an activity that boosts the christmas cheer up around the house. >> i never would have thought that bacon would become so important to me. i forgot how to do it years ago. but now, with the kids, it is fun again, even at my age. it is a tradition and gladly passing on. >> the tradition goes back hundreds of years in germany. it stems from a time when small
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bread offerings were made at the time of the winter solstice. along with the advent calendar, the cookies are among the main traditions that mark the period just before christmas. this tradition makes the way -- the wait for christmas eve just a little bit sweeter. then, as there is additional advent wreath. a candle is lit on each of the four sundays before december 25. this is another tradition that has pre-christian roots. the lighting of the candles allows people to increase a sense of excitement, building up to the christmas climax. them here, hope is being built up. hope for a celebration in the community with the family. and you can say this hope is something of a human the constant. people need hope. >> know whether celebration sets people in motion quite like christmas.
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towns are decked out with best of lighting, and christmas markets are open, but there are many people for whom the festive season has no religious meaning. and that christmas has no religious meaning for me because i'm not christian or anything like that. i find christmas nice because of all the trappings that go along with it. >> christmas is a peaceful christian religious celebration, one that has little to do with what we see played out around here. >> christmas without the church does not work, and it also needs the family, so i feel pretty strongly attached to it, including its religious character. >> the story of the birth of jesus maintains a grip on people to this day. nativity scenes like these embody the central message of christianity, that god sent his son to save humanity. even the easter with the resurrection is the more important celebration for the church, christmas remains the more popular.
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>> at christmas, we're dealing with the thought of honoring god, the religious significance. that god comes into our world and that he saves the world through coming here. this is the whole area that is charged with christian meeting. this is tied to a sense of community, family, kit and kin, and also exchanging gifts. what is particular is that it does not just have one meaning. >> that is why many people prepare for christmas weeks in advance. finia and her mother put the finishing touches on the cookies. the extra sugar could be a good way to help ease the stress many experience in the run-up to christmas. especially with all that shopping to do. many people who would not
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normally go to church do sell at christmas. they find a sense of community at the service, and there are, of course, those who will find comfort in the christmas message of peace. >> i believe that christmas has such great meaning because it addresses basic human yearning. it offers something that is quite different to what we experience in our everyday lives. so christmas offers the possibility of giving symbolic expression to this longing. >> the celebration is a time for hope -- hope for family, love, and peace, even if these are ideals, the are once people strive for your in, year out. >> the hope for family, love, and peace, our ideals of other
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faiths, and germany is home to many muslims. christmas in germany is hard to ignore. nearly every town has a christmas market full of seasonal items and good food. our next report takes a look at how some of these german traditions have made their way into the lives of some non- christian immigrants to the country. >> the comedy shows how christmas captivates turkish immigrant children and in germany. it was a similar experience with someone originally from the
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palestinian territories. her daughter brings home stories of santa claus from kindergarten, stories she wants to hear again and again. >> in the morning, they hear special stories, and also lots of christmas songs. i've only got to know many of them once i had a child. >> she came to germany at the age of seven. her family is muslim but is not about. her father celebrated christmas with her from the very beginning because it was a central part of everyday life in their new home country. >> the sparkle and the glitter of christmas have a mesmerizing effect on christmas. the parents sometimes flummoxed by it all.
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>> what does the christmas angel look like? >> what does it look like? good question. what do you think? >> i do not know. maybe it looks like you, the christmas angel. >> with strike the socks on? then a yes, definitely with socks on. >> she loves the story of the christmas angel. her mother had never been to church christmas until now so they could celebrate together. >> when you have left your roots behind, then it gives you something to hold onto, celebrating the festival like almost everyone else in the community of around you. the rituals give you a feeling of belonging. >> rituals that the turkish children take up eagerly, though
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their parents soon find out the celebrating christmas is not always as easy as it looks. >> that has been our "in depth" look at christmas, its meetings, and traditions. for all of us here at dw-tv, happy holidays.
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KCSMMHZ December 23, 2011 2:30pm-3:00pm PST

TOPIC FREQUENCY France 8, Syria 5, U.s. 4, Us 2, Bill Clinton 2, Paris 2, Euros 2, Obama 2, Hungary 2, Al Assad 1, Hillary Clinton 1, Assad 1, Barack Obama 1, Here 1, John Boehner 1, Klaus 1, Madeleine Albright 1, Turkey 1, Prague 1, Russia 1
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